Header Ads

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lifestyle, mental health and well being of adults and children in Kenya

Life has never been the same since March 11, 2020 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. This was the moment that countries resorted to lockdowns, cessation of movement, travel bans, closure of non-essential services and worship as well as complete halting of all social gatherings as measures meant to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

This economic and social disruption plunged so many people in Kenya into extreme poverty, with many ending up undernourished for lack of food. The poor have bore the blunt of the health and economic impacts of the virus.  

Majority of enterprises faced an existential threat with many people losing their livelihoods. In Kenya for instance, cessation of movements and the complete shutdown of eateries, entertainment joints, ban on sporting activities, social gatherings and places of worship crippled about 70 percent of the country’s economic activities that directly or indirectly depended on this sector.

Loss of livelihoods

Many people lost their jobs and businesses collapsed due to either lack of activity or whatever was available could not sustain them or cover their overhead costs. This loss meant that they were now unable to feed themselves and their families with effects being felt in almost every sector of the economy.

However, it was not all doom for everyone. To some people, COVID-19 provided a great opportunity to earn a living. The internet provided the biggest opportunities for earning as many people exploited online business opportunities that presented themselves. The government restrictions brought forth the digitization of so many services.

There were those who switched to selling stuff like the masks, sanitisers and other safety equipment that were regarded as very essential in the fight against COVID-19. Food deliveries and other errand services became another key opportunity to earn.

All in all, the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly outweighed the positives.

Health impacts

The health sector too was hard hit with some facilities being overstretched by the high number of patients being admitted for COVID-19. The cost implication too drained financial abilities of so many families as COVID-19 treatment ended up being too expensive. Insurance companies declined to foot bills accrued from COVID-19 treatment.

That notwithstanding, COVID-19 resulted to so many deaths, some wiping out entire families or their breadwinners. These left behind orphans, widows and widowers with no one to look up to.

Mental health

The stigma associated to the pandemic was another very unfortunate situation. Anyone believed to have contracted the disease was evaded and left to live in isolation, sometimes being denied even the basic services.

Working from home was sometimes associated with more emotional exhaustion, especially in people who felt isolated from their colleagues and thus had less social support. Even though there were positive impacts to their relationships, including being able to spend more time with spouses, children or other family members who no longer had to spend their days at work or school, the rate of domestic violence, rapes and defilement skyrocketed during this period with so many school girls getting pregnant from peers and relatives.

To reduce the spread of the virus, the Government of Kenya closed all schools and universities on March 16, 2020 for almost 9 months. This long school holiday break forced a good number of learners to drop out of school and seek employment as casuals and house helps. It was also a period that saw too much immorality among minors and too much headaches for parents as they attempted to mend their children’s wayward behaviours.

When the schools finally reopened, the government created a crash programme with an attempt to cover up for the lost time. This has created too much pressure to the learners and teachers. There is this school of thought that believes that the pressure among these learners is the reason why so many of them are resorting to torching their schools so as to offer them an opportunity to be out of school.

Parents who also have to go an extra mile to pay school fees after almost every one month. This has strained resources in many families and causing mental torture, domestic disagreements and breakups in marriages.

In conclusion, the government needs to come up with very stringent measures to cushion their people and revive businesses in the post-COVID-19 era.  Economic recovery is central and without a broad-based economic expansion, it will difficult to address other challenges, such as education and healthcare.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.